Perran Moon, CMO, Liberty Charge.
There is much to be welcomed in New Automotive’s ‘On the Road to 2030’ report, and in particular its important recommendation that we must ‘not slow the uptake of EVs in order for infrastructure to catch up’. However, it is simply not the case that the industry is ‘on track’ to deliver the Government’s ambition of 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030.
There has been much debate about whether or not the 300,000 charge point ambition is accurate or helpful. In our view, it is essential that there is a target to which the industry must aim, including ensuring the right charge points are installed in the right locations, otherwise the UK’s EV infrastructure rollout will fail to meet demand from the growing number of EV drivers.
Unfortunately, the New Automotive report suggests a complacency that belies the fact that, so far, progress on the UK’s EV infrastructure roll out has been glacially slow, and the reality is that we need to ramp up our efforts very significantly.
The report cites a 34% annual increase in the number of installed charge points since October 2021 and uses this figure to extrapolate a growth rate that achieves 300,000 charge points by 2030. To support this theory it uses two charge point operator’s claims that, in the future, they massively increase their charging networks. While these commitments are admirable, there has been negligible detail or evidence of how they intend to achieve these claims, nor has their feasibility been independently verified.
Zap-Map figures show there were 8,886 public electric vehicle charge points installed in 2022*. While this represents the 30%-35% annual increase to which New Automotive refers – it is also less than a third of the 27,000 public chargers a year that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimated would have to be installed each year to meet future demand.
New Automotive also cites local authority case studies where public charge point infrastructure has grown. This is similarly misleading. While there are some success stories, this does not take into account findings from Liberty Charge’s Local Authority Insight Report, which revealed that one third (31%) of local authorities have no formal EV infrastructure plan in place, and almost half (44%) do not expect to complete one within the next three years.
In addition to the overall target, we believe we need interim targets along the way to 2030 to help provide local authorities with very clear guidance on progress. It will be this that helps ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support our move to electric transport.
*37,261 public electric vehicle charge points installed by the end of 2022, compared with 28,375 by the end of 2021. **Final report (publishing.service.gov.uk) Electrical Vehicle Charging Market Study by Competition and Markets Authority